Monday, 1 December 2014

Part1. The 37th Foot, a typical line regiment of the American Revolution.

The 37th Foot started life around 1701 and was first known as Meredith’s Regiment, raised in Ireland by a Thomas Meredith they served under the Duke of Marlborough during the wars of Spanish Succession, there were early battle honours awarded to the regiment including the great battles of Blenheim, Ramillies, Oudenarde, Malplaquet.

During the mid 18th century the 37th were now “Munros”, the regiment again found itself fighting on the continent this time during the war of Austrian succession, they were at the battle of Dettington fought on 27th June 1743. Munro’s Regiment returned to England and was placed under the command of General Henry Hawley in Scotland, fighting at Falkirk in what was a defeat for the Kings army. They were then again back under the command of the Duke of Cumberland, this army fought at Culloden during the end phase  of the “45” Jacobite rebellion, it was during Culloden that the regiment was heavily involved taking the brunt of the highland charge along with Barrells Regiment in what was the last land battle to be fought in the United Kingdom, the defeat was that of the army of Charles Edward Stewart “The Young Pretender” and his Jacobite highland clansmen.

In 1747 Munro’s were back with Cumberland on the continent taking up where they left of in the Austrian War of Succession, the regiment is listed as being at the Battle of Lauffeldt 2nd July where Cumberland lost to a French Army. In the year 1751 the British Army established the numbering system of its line and cavalry regiments which was to serve them for around 150 years, Munro’s was designated 37 in the line establishment, now His Majesties 37th Regiment of Foot settled into a peaceful existence, however further trouble with the French was only a few years away.

During the Seven Years War the 37th served in Europe, 1759 the regiment was in action at the Battle of Minden as one of six battalions of British Infantry they advanced in line, for this was the first time British Infantry attacked massed squadrons of French cavalry, this action became a victorious win over the despicable and dastardly French, however it came at a cost 15 officers and 231 men were killed and wounded at the battle of Minden. 

The Regiment wears a rose in its head-dress each year to commemorate the victory, “The Minden Rose” is in memory of those infantrymen who were supposed to have picked roses as they returned from the battle, there is some dispute over this as some argue that they fixed roses to their hats before the battle, either way it became the regiments tradition to do so on the anniversary of the battle on the 1st August each year. The ‘Hampshire’ rose which forms part of the Hampshire Regiments cap badge actually commemorates the rose awarded to the trained bands of Hampshire who fought so valiantly for King Henry V at Agincourt in 1415, the 37th were destined to be associated to Hampshire during further army reforms.

At the outbreak of the American War of 1775 the 37th Foot were part of the British garrison in Ireland, they were quartered in Dublin, previously the 37th had been at Fort George near to Inverness Scotland under their Colonel Sir Eyre Coote, the 37th were under orders to police the highlands, Fort George was built as a direct result of the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion.

Sir Eyre Coote also commanded the fort during the 37th’s 1773 posting, the Lt Colonel of the 37th at the time was a John Pennington who had entered the army in 1756, finally rising to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel of the 37th regiment of foot by 1773. Pennington eventually retired from military service later in the 1770s to pursue a political career, he gained a seat in parliament as member for Milbourne Port in 1781, Major Brewse was also of the 37th and served with the regiment as adjutant at Fort George, he would later see service in the American War, this Revolution or fight for independence was perceived as out-right rebellion to His Majesty King George III.


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